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Violence

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."    - Albert Einstein ; The World As I See It


"Pilate’s procession displayed not only imperial power, but also Roman imperial theology. According to this theology, the emperor was not simply the ruler of Rome, but the Son of God."    - Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan ; The Last Week


"Violence can beget fear, stalemate, annihilation, dominance, or more violence, but it cannot beget love, justice, abundant life, community, or peace."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker ; Saving Paradise


"First, Jesus' practice and teaching demand absolutely the unmasking of and a resolute struggle against the form of violence that is the worst and most generative of others because it is the most inhuman and the historical principle at the origin of all dehumanization: structural injustice in the form of institutionalized violence. It follows that we have to unmask the frequent attitude of being scandalized at revolutionary violence and the victims it produces without having been scandalized first and more deeply at its causes."    - Jon Sobrino ; Jesus the Liberator


"Eschatology is not, of course, about the destruction of the earth, but about its transfiguration, not about the end of the world, but about the end of evil, injustice, violence— and imperialism. Think of the eschaton as the Great Divine Cleanup of the World."    - Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan ; The First Christmas


"For Augustus and for Rome it was always about peace, but always about peace through victory, peace through war, peace through violence."    - Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan ; The First Christmas


"There are, in other words, two utterly divergent descriptions of God’s final solution to the existence of imperialism, one violent and the other nonviolent, one extermination in a Great Final Battle and the other conversion at a Great Final Feast. They are both there from one end of the Christian Bible to the other. Which one, do you think, is announced by those Christmas stories? When Luke’s angels announce “peace on earth” to those shepherds at Bethlehem, is it peace through victory or peace through justice?"    - Marcus Borg & John Dominc Crossan ; The First Christmas


"In Jesus Christ, God disarmed himself. God surrendered himself without protection and without arms to those who keep crying for more and more protection and arms. In Jesus Christ, God renounced violence. And of course, he did this unilaterally, without waiting for us to lay down our weapons first."    - Dorothee Solle ; Of War and Lovenon


"Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons— not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized."    - Paulo Freire ; Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 30th Anniversary Edition


"With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. How could they be the initiators, if they themselves are the result of violence? How could they be the sponsors of something whose objective inauguration called forth their existence as oppressed? There would be no oppressed had there been no prior situation of violence to establish their subjugation. Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons— not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the 'rejects of life.' It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who have emasculated them."      - Paulo Freire ; Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 30th Anniversary Edition


“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."    - Jesus ; Matthew 26.52


Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.    - Jesus ; Matthew 24.32-35


So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.    - Jesus ; Matthew 24.26-28


Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.    - Jesus ; Matthew 24.4-8


All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.    - Leo Tolstoy ; The Law of Love and the Law of Violence


"Centuries of institutional, political, and intellectual development have tended to obscure the importance of compassion in religion. All too often the religion that dominates the public discourse seems to express an institutional egotism: my faith is better than yours! As Zhuangzi noted, once people interject themselves into their beliefs, they can become quarrelsome, officious, or even unkind. Compassion is not a popular virtue, because it demands the laying aside of the ego that we identify with our deepest self; so people often prefer being right to being compassionate. Fundamentalist religion has absorbed the violence of our time and developed a polarized vision, so that, like the early Zoroastrians, fundamentalists sometimes divide humanity into two hostile camps, with the embattled faithful engaged in a deadly war against 'evildoers.' As we have seen to our cost, this attitude can easily segue into atrocity. It is also counterproductive. As the Daodejing pointed out, violence usually recoils upon the perpetrator, no matter how well intentioned he might be. You cannot force people to behave as you want; in fact, coercive measures are more likely to drive them in the opposite direction."    - Armstrong, Karen ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


The desire that lives through imitation almost always leads to conflict, and this conflict frequently leads to violence.

   - Girard, Rene ; I See Satan Fall Like Lightning


If individuals are naturally inclined to desire what their neighbors possess, or to desire what their neighbors even simply desire, this means that rivalry exists at the very heart of human social relations.

   - Girard, Rene ; I See Satan Fall Like Lightning


"Before his conversion, Paul had read his Bible and concluded that he should commit violence in God’s name. He was convinced that justice comes through punishment, and saw himself as an agent of that. After his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul completely reassessed how to understand scripture, leading him to a radically different understanding focused on God’s way of restorative justice in Christ."

   - Derek Flood ; Healing the Gospel: A Radical Vision for Grace, Justice, and the Cross


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